Strict Systems vs. ‘Big Brother’ - Part II
In the past few years, my book (“System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business”) has become required reading in specific departments for some colleges, and I was happy to receive some feedback from a particular professor recently.
This professor had expressed to me that he believes my book would go a long way toward prepare his students for their professional careers, where they will apply their education in the real world.
During the summer months, many of his students intern at various companies and have witnessed firsthand what disorder and waste does to a business—much of which is described in great detail in my book.
After reading “System Busters,” these students were each asked to write a report on their thoughts about its overall message and whether or not they believed it would help them in their future professions.
Many students said they would definitely take many ideas from the book with them into their careers. However, another group of students said that the “fix” I wrote about for stopping waste in business—systemization—seemed “too strict.”
One student commented, “I think it takes the creativity out of a job; a job should be fun!” Other comments were, “It sounds like Big Brother.” and “I don’t think I would like working at a company with strict systems.”
I understand these students are young and still learning about being part of a business. Therefore, they:
• have yet to deal with the real chaos that happens in most businesses, which, by the way, is NOT “fun” for business owners who, because of it, lose much-needed revenue that should go toward operating expenses, salaries, retooling, ever-growing taxes, etc.
• haven’t witnessed an owner of a business working 12 to 14 hours a day, just to keep the company running.
• have yet to see a business lose customers to a competitor because of poor quality and service, or witnessed a co-worker/friend being let go due to the resulting lack of work.
• haven’t experienced a co-worker pointing a finger of blame at them because of a mistake they made, which caused the co-worker to miss a family event he/she had been planning for months.
• have no understanding of how common it is for a small-business owners—having personally risked all to START a business—to have to mortgage their homes or forfeit getting paid themselves in order to stay afloat and keep their businesses operating during bad economic times.
• haven’t yet grasped the concept that WASTE is caused by poor systems that eat up time and money.
• don’t yet know that being accountable and responsible for the kind of quality and good service that customers have a right to expect is ESSENTIAL. (And, YES, sometimes it’s NOT fun!)
• have yet to understand that chaos in business DESTROYS creativity, because when business is bogged down in rework and bottlenecks, due to haphazard standards of operation, there is little TIME or profit with which to be creative; the lack of effective systems has stolen it.
Systemization brings order like nothing else can to a business. It takes a great deal of creativity to build great systems—and sometimes it CAN be fun!
Did I mention? Great systems work!
Philip Beyer, founder/president of Ebiz Products LLC and founder of Beyer Printing Inc. in Nashville Tenn., is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant. Author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business" and recipient of an InterTech Technology Award for the design and development of System100 business process management software. Beyer speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses. Contact him at (615) 425-2652.